THE latest phase of a £1 million project replacing old water pipes in the Arboretum area of Worcester has begun.

The scheme by Severn Trent Water to replace about five kilometres of pipeline in the area began in August last year and is now about two thirds complete.

Pierpoint Street – which bridges the busy Foregate Street to Sansome Walk and is frequently used as a short-cut by drivers – was the latest road to be closed as work began there today, Tuesday May 6.

Jonathan Tait from Severn Trent said the road would be closed for about four weeks as the work was carried out.

“Over the last few years water pipes in the area around Arboretum Road in Worcester have burst quite a few times,” he said. “This is simply because, like everything, water pipes can become old once they’ve been used for many years. “When this happens they become brittle and easily break which can disrupt our customers’ water supply. By acting now and replacing the pipes we can help to avoid any future disruption.”

He said 18 sections of pipeline had been replaced so far, with nine more to go.

A diversion will be in place while the work is carried out, less than 500 metres away from another temporary road closure which has been causing delays through the city since the middle of March.

The emergency closure of a section of the upper Tything was put in place after a sewer in Britannia Square collapsed, with work expected to be completed by the middle of this month.

Although concerns were raised when the Arboretum work was announced that the road closures would cause parking problems in the neighbourhood – which is often congested with parked cars – a special scheme was put in place allowing residents in the area to access their homes.

Mr Tait said Severn Trent had been working closely with Worcester City Council to ensure waste collection could be carried out as normal as well as Worcestershire County Council’s highways department to minimise disruption.

“We’ve carefully planned this work so that our customers are disrupted as little as possible,” he said. “However it’s important to remember that we’re only here for a short time but our new pipes should up and running for years to come.”

For any sewer or water supply problems Severn Trent Water can be contacted 24 hours a day by calling 0800 783 4444.